Last night, I was on the roof with bats overhead skreeking metal on metal past the trees, past the trellis, past the gutters full of leaves. My feet trailed over the side bouncing against dented steel siding. If I were to fall, I would break, but I wouldn’t die. There are later years to come.
Lives are shaped around many things–learning piano, studying physics, uprooting the jackhammer taproot of JFK’s assassination–I choose envy.
Envy is invaluable to the course of my life. I have envied friends from good families most of all.
Although I write from the envy of story, mother from the envy of a happy home, love from the envy of compassion, I have never manipulated another person’s trajectory from spite. Ignorance, perhaps. Selfishness, certainly.
This is the honest bone: Jealously comes from a desire for acceptance.
People do stupid, stupid things with the hope they will be accepted. Cliques can be dangerous and cruel on the outside, but like a hot crusty bun, so warm and secure in the middle.
My first clique whispered and taunted as a matter of course, I swore I would break from them given the chance. In middle school, friendships opened up. I moved to sharkier waters. Then high school. That was something.
I struggle always with the idea of acceptance while taking communion with envy.
But I’m more okay these days. Remember that saying about having one good friend instead of three hundred not good ones? That’s pretty cool. And there’s something about doing what you love instead of trying to be something you’re not, or don’t sell out, or be true to yourself, or dance naked in the dark.
I’ve been around some pretty bad people. The worst kind of people. These are soft, cuddly puppy dogs with floppy ears, droopy tails, pouty sad-dog eyes and rabies. They hurt. They bite. They smile when they do it. But not enough of us trust ourselves to leave well enough alone.
My daughters like dogs, especially the youngest; she wants a puppy and she wants one bad. We have to teach her not to run up to a dog and decide to pet it, but instead to ask, “May I pet your dog?” We have to teach her to be safe.
Everyone has a voice trying to keep them safe, but whoa! Boring! No danger. And just look at that cute little puppy dog.
Don’t do it. Or, at least, ask if you can pet it before you offer it your hand.
Today’s Throw me Thursday suggestion came from Karen Sosnoski on the Penny Jar Facebook page. Karen said, “Describe an action you’ve taken out of envy–its origins and consequences.” Karen also wins a signed copy of Thunder and Lightening by Natalie Goldberg. Congratulations, Karen!
Thank you to everyone offering suggestions for Throw me Thursday. You’ve introduced me to so many ways of thinking.